Everyone gets a bit nervous when it comes to new responsibilities like getting your first pet or owning your first home – it’s completely natural! We know that being a newbie caretaker to a lawn isn’t the most significant responsibility you'll encounter in your life.
However, there’s still no shame in feeling anxious about having this daunting new chore ahead of you. Lawns are a major part of our home’s curb appeal, and keeping the yard looking nice is a notoriously tricky chore to get right.
Fear not! Here’s a helpful list of lawn care tips for beginners that will guide you through all you need to know.
1. Know Your Grass and Soil Type
When starting off any new relationship, learning each other's names is a good jumping-off point. Don't worry; we're not suggesting that you introduce yourself to your lawn… However, taking care of your new yard is going to go a lot smoother if you know your grass’s name.
Do a little research and find out what type of grass you have. Knowing more about your grass and soil type will help a lot with problem-solving.
Obviously, there is a multitude of different climates all across America. It is in your best interest to be aware of what type of grass is most successful in your particular climate region. For example, St. Augustine grass is the best option if you live in the South East. Conversely, if you’re located in the North West, Kentucky Bluegrass is the way to go.
So if your grass just refuses to look nice no matter what you do, it could be because you have the wrong type of grass for your area. Trust us – a little knowledge can go a long way in properly caring for your yard.
2. Seeding and Overseeding
Did the previous owners of your yard ultimately drive your grass into the ground, so to speak? Or maybe your house is on a new lot, and it's up to you to add grass to the property for the first time.
No matter the circumstances, if you're starting from scratch, then planting new grass seed is your best and most affordable option for a healthy-looking yard.
Seeding is an excellent way to grow lush and plentiful grass. If you're considering seeding, then we recommend that you research seeding tips for your specific region. Find out the best time of year to seed your grass type in your area to give yourself the best chance of successful growth.
While you may be new to lawns, your newly acquired lawn is most likely not actually new. Maybe your new yard doesn't need a complete overhaul, just a touch-up. If you’ve noticed spots in your yard where the grass looks damaged, then you may want to consider trying overseeding.
Overseeding is the process of adding new grass seed over the grass that is already present.
This technique is excellent for treating brown, thinning areas and can help your lawn look dense, healthy, and thriving.
It can also help strengthen your grass’s ability to fight off future damage from drought and other problems. Overseeding is most successful when combined with aeration.
How much and how often you should water your lawn varies by season and by your location. Your best resource for watering in your area is a local lawn care professional, so if you're considering hiring one check with them.
However, if you're on your own, there are a few things to consider before programming your sprinkler system setting.
Over-watering your lawn can be as unhealthy for it as not watering enough – aim for the happy medium.
You want to establish strong, healthy roots in your yard so watering must be done deeply and thoroughly. Ideally, your grass needs 1" to 1.5" inches of water a week, and you want that water to seep about 6 inches into the soil. Usually, this goal can be accomplished by watering three times a week for somewhere around 15-30 minutes per zone. However, depending on your location and the time of year – it varies!
Lucky for you, there’s an old fashioned test to see if you’re watering correctly. If you can push a screwdriver 6 inches into the dirt without difficulty, then your grass is getting enough water.
Typically, the best time to water your lawn is early in the morning before the temperature warms with the sun and evaporates the water. Set your sprinklers for some time between 5AM and 10AM.
Don’t forget that you’ll need to adjust your watering by season. In the summer, your lawn will need some extra attention, but not as much as you might think. Adding ten or so minutes to your regular schedule should get your grass all the water it needs.
Obviously, in the springtime, most areas receive more rain so you should be able to back off about ten minutes from your normal watering schedule. During the fall and winter, your lawn will still require water, but, like spring, you can take off about ten minutes.
Don’t forget that everywhere is different so try out the screwdriver test!
Mowing seems like one of those pretty straight forward tasks that doesn’t require much thought. Wrong. There are a few things that you should absolutely be aware of before you start pushing your mower around.
Hacking your grass as short as possible may seem like the fastest and easiest option to not have to mow as often, but that is not in the best interest of your grass. Cutting the grass too short puts a lot of pressure on your turf and can negatively impact the health of your yard.
Adjust your mower blades so that you are cutting off about 1/3 of your grass’s length. For example, if your grass is three inches high, then you should trim one inch for optimum yard health.
Another tip for mowing that you should keep in mind – maintain your mower. Clean the undercarriage after every mow and keep the blades sharp. Dull blades can pull and tear your grass, creating sloppy looking results.
For more advice, head over to our guide to lawn mowing.
Vitamins are a vital part of keeping us healthy and strong (mom was right). Well, the same goes for your grass. No matter the season, every yard requires fertilizing to stay healthy year-round. Fertilizer is essential to the health and well-being of your grass and turf.
If you’re fertilizing your yard without a professional, we advise that you select a granular product to simplify the process for yourself. Buy a product that’s rich in nutrients and always follow the labeled directions.
For a true lawn care beginner, the first question here is most likely – what is aerating? Aeration is the mechanical process of pulling plugs of soil (about the size of your thumb) and redistributing them back across your lawn.
Harsh seasons can cause your soil to tighten and compact, which inhibits root growth. The basic idea is that aeration creates more space and reduces soil compaction. This process creates optimal growth conditions for your grass by helping to circulate air and nutrients in the soil.
To achieve the best results from aerating your yard, use a professional. However, it is possible for a homeowner to aerate their own grass effectively.
If you prefer to try it yourself, you should look into purchasing an aeration machine. These machines resemble a lawnmower in size and shape, and they're designed to perform the aeration process uniformly across your lawn.
There are many benefits of aerating your yard, and you should consider aerating at least once a year. The best times for aerating are spring and fall to help your lawn prepare for and recover from harsh summer and winter stress.
Most lawn care experts agree that aeration should be a regular part of your lawn care routine.
7. Fighting Weeds
Playing Whack-A-Mole with the weeds in the yard is one of the most frustrating aspects of being a homeowner. Unfortunately, the struggle against weeds is pretty much impossible to avoid, and they are infamously difficult to eradicate permanently.
We’d always suggest a professional handle your weed problem as they can effectively remove them forever without you having to lift a finger. But if you’re ready to accept the challenge, here are a couple tips for your weeding endeavors…
Weeds are like pack animals – they never show up alone. Wherever you see a weed permeating the topsoil, there are more weed seeds ready and waiting underneath to take its place. When pulling a weed, try not to overly disturb the soil. Tossing the soil may make it easier for new weed seeds to rise to the top and grow.
Another tip is to try adding mulch to your yard's design; it looks great, and it encourages weed-eating insects to move in. Let the weeds do battle with their natural enemies and make it easier on yourself.
8. Pest Control
Controlling pests in your yard can be accomplished by hiring a specialist, or you can purchase products at your local garden store.
An important note to remember is that ALL yards will have insects, and MOST of those insects are not harmful to your yard or your family.
Many insects that you find in your lawn are actually beneficial so try not to go overboard! Remove only harmful and damaging pest insects.
9. Gardens, Trees, Shrubs
There is much more to a yard than just grass, and we mustn't forget that gardens, trees, and shrubs need attention too.
If you're looking into planting your own ornamental plants, then be sure to select species that are best suited for your area. Also, be sure to check how much sunlight and water the plants will need so you know where to place it. If the plants you want require a lot of pruning and maintenance, make sure you're up for the challenge.
Whether you've planted your own trees and plants or inherited them with your new yard, don't forget that they need protection and care too. Ornamental plants and trees require fertilization and pest treatments, just like your grass. If you don't treat trees, shrubs, and other plants, then you run the risk of problems spreading from them to the rest of your yard.
To learn more, visit our guide for tips about tree and shrub care.
10. Don't Be Afraid to Ask for Help
We know that a great sense of pride comes with having a well-manicured yard that you maintain yourself. We love that! However, don't let that pride stop you from asking for help when you need it.
If lawn care feels a bit overwhelming or you're not getting the results that you were hoping for, then have a certified lawn care specialist come take a look. It's far better to ask for help from a professional before the problem gets completely out of control.
Gecko Green's Lawn Care Service
With Gecko Green, hiring a professional leads to stress-free lawn care with guaranteed results. We are proud to provide North Texas with quality lawn care service that includes fertilization, aeration, tree and shrub treatments, pest control, and much more!
“Is learning how to care for your lawn too much work? Let the experts take over! Call us today for a free quote!”
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